tv Piers Morgan Tonight CNN December 12, 2012 9:00pm-10:00pm PST
an ar-15 semiautomatic rifle. america with more gun stores than grocery stores. tonight, eyewitnesses tell me what they saw when they started. i talk a gun advocate who says there should have been more guns in that mall. and the mother of the aurora, colorado, victims, who thinks the opposite. and talks about guns, north korea's nuclear threat. and the man at both sides of the gun debate, mark kelly. >> president obama hasn't really addressed the gun issue at all. >> this is piers morgan tonight. good evening. our big story tonight, america armed. a day after another gun outrage, a young 22-year-old shoots up a mall of christmas shoppers in oregon. here's the statistics. there's more than 129,000 federally licensed firearms
dealers in this country. that's according to the bureau of alcohol and tobacco. there's 16,000 grocery stores and 14,000 mcdonald's restaurants. far more places to buy guns in america than groceries or burgers. 47,856 people murdered by firearms between 2006 and 2010. two more murdered in clackamas center. and it could have been worse. thousands ran for safety. joining me now, two survivors of the shooting. joslyn lay and allan fonseca. you go to the mall. and somebody walks in with an assault weapon and someone walks in indiscriminately shooting. what was the first you discovered this was going on. where were you and what did you
hear? >> i was inside macy's at the lancome counter, which is close to the entrance of the mall area, where the shooter was. and i was being helped by allan. and he was almost done with my transaction, when this loud boom happened. and i first thought that, you know, something had broken. but then, immediately, there was a second gunshot. and repeated ones. and i knew right away, this was gunfire. and we had a terrible situation. and so, allan and i looked at each other. it's like we understood that we had to do something. and we crouched down by the lancome counter. >> allan, there's been a number of gun outrages in recent months. was this your worst fear coming true? and what went through your mind when you realized this was happening? >> what was going through my mind, and i don't have an explanation for. the only thing that was running through my mind was i had to do my best possible to get as many
people out of the building as i could because i knew a lot of people didn't have access to where the exits were. a lot of them are holiday shoppers they don't know where some of the exits were in the mall. pure instinct, i did what i thought was right. >> allan, do you have training as a macy's employee? do most people who work in shopping malls now in america, have some kind of training for this kind of thing? >> no. they don't have training for shootings. all we know is that, if there's a fire alarm or something goes off, that we just need to exit out of the building. but there was no precise training for a gunshot. >> just that we know the shooter took his own life in the end. we know that his rifle jammed. was an assault rifle. he had several magazines, capable of firing multiple, multiple bullets. it could have been worse. appear that the pure intention was for killing innocent people. what is your view about that ongoing debate in america, which
i'm vociferous about. and many people don't want to have it at all. about gun control. and the ability of people like this shooter, to get their hands on a weapon of this power and magnitude. >> well, i feel like that, you know, there's not enough consequences in the united states. you know, unfortunately, it starts from the home. and the home is destructing. you know, we don't have, you know, proper authority, with a husband and wife. you know, just different situations like that that gunmen are able to be able -- you know, we just had an incident here in portland, where an 11-year-old and a 7-year-old were having firearms. it's an unfortunate situation. and something has to change. >> the whole gun thing, it's dangerous. a lot of people are allowed to
have guns. but i think there's a more deep-rooted thing that needs to be pointed out. and what would cause a young man, like the one that did the shooting, to do what he did? because he was just a regular person, you know? people saw him as a kind person. and just out of nowhere, he just goes and does this. so, i don't think it's so much just the guns. but what is really going on in our society? that's causing young men to do this. >> i think it is a combination of things. i want to thank you both. joslyn and allan. we're going to go to someone now. jacob was a good guy. they were stunned to learn he was the gunman behind the shooting rampage. joining me now is faye. a difficult time for family, for friends. anyone who knew him. by all accounts, he seemed a normal character. and this seems completely out of character. what is your view?
>> well, it is a shock. my fiance woke me up this morning and let me know what happened. and it felt like i was being lied to. i didn't believe that jake was capable of such a thing. we all knew him as a kind person. he was generous. he was a guy that if you were having a bad day, he could make you laugh, no matter what. >> there is a report, a suggestion, not confirmed yet, that he had sold all his possessions and was planning to move, perhaps, to hawaii. nobody who knew him well quite understood why. friends who was with him recently, said he was acting in a curious way, somewhat detached. >> i saw the post he was moving to hawaii. i didn't hear about him selling his belongings or anything. i can't shed too much light on that. but i did see he was planning to go to hawaii. >> police are saying he stole the gun from a friend. have you any idea where he may have stolen the gun?
>> that, i am not aware of any of that. >> obviously, you seem very shocked by what's happened here. it does seem very out of character. were there any signs at all, in all the time you knew him, that he was suffering any kind of mental illness? that he wasn't balanced? did he have flare-ups, behavior issues at all, that suggested to you he was capable of all this? >> absolutely not. jake was the last person on my mind that i thought would do something like this. >> did he have family issues that you're aware of? >> not that i'm aware of. >> completely baffling to you? >> absolutely is. >> you seem very upset. it's hardly surprising. is the whole community, just in deep shock about this? >> yeah. you know, all of our friends just are trying to comprehend what he may have gone through or what could have happened that
led him to do such a drastic thing. >> on his facebook page, there are pictures of him shooting. we're looking at one of them now. he admits to liking shooting. were you aware of his love of shooting? of his affiliation to guns at all? >> i mean, i've seen it on his facebook. but i mean, there's a lot that's out there that likes shooting. i don't think that's the cause of why he did what he did. >> well, faye, thank you for joining me. i can tell you're shocked and upset by this. it's understandable. i appreciate you joining the show tonight. >> absolutely. >> one of the worst mass shoots of this country's history happened in aurora, colorado, this summer. 12 people killed. previously escaped a mall shooting in toronto, jessica's mother, sandy phillips, joins me with her husband, lonny phillips. thank you for joining me. >> thank you for having us.
>> you tweeted me on the night i interviewed bob costas on monday, about gun control. he is the center of a controversy in his gun comments. he was articulate why this country needs more gun control. when you heard about this latest shooting, as you must do with all shootings that make the headlines, you heart must sink and it must take you back to the nightmare you went through. >> yes. absolutely. not only myself, but my husband and the other 11 families that lost a loved one in aurora. we were all, you know, texting back and forth last night. all of us were shaking. and some of us were crying. and we understand the pain that those families are going through that lost loved ones. and those that were traumatized by the event. it's a horrible state of affairs that we're in in america right now. and it really needs to be
addressed. when we have leaders like lindsey graham that was on your show the other night, that said we're not going to do anything about it because we believe in the second amendment, it makes you even more curious as to where this country is heading because i, too, believe in the second amendment. i, too, am a gun owner. so is my husband. and to not address these issues is ludicrous. >> lonny, the argument, i keep being thrown back in my face when i raise this, after all these outrages is, if everybody at aurora in that movie theater had been armed, they could have all shot the shooter. i'm sure that the gun lobby will argue the same thing again about what happened in the mall. if the christm shoppers had bee armed, they could have shot him and so on. what's your response to that particular argument? >> my response to that would be that would not be a good idea. to have everyone in that theater, or even a few people in
that theater with a gun. i'm a gun owner. grant lowak, who was with my daughter when she was killed went to a gun show this weekend. i could have walked out of there without signing anything. they're really available. having a gun in a theater and a crowded -- any kind of crowded environment, brent is a good shot. he may have gotten a chance to shoot. but i think his best course of action was to do what he did. he tried to protect my daughter. he was wounded in the process. he has a license to carry. and i'm going to get a license to carry because i want to protect my home. i have a shotgun. my wife used to be a member of the national rifle association. so, we are gun owners. and we believe in the second amendment. but we believe there needs to be a dialogue. our country needs to talk about
some type of gun control. i believe that having our citizens armed and a license to carry. i would carry a gun in my car. i would not carry one on my person. i don't think i would want to try to shoot somebody. and i would not want to face the fact that i missed him and hit somebody, an innocent victim. >> we just had that shooting at the empire state victim, where nine people were injured by officers who were well-trained in arms. so, it can happen at anytime, anywhere. but more guns is not necessarily the answer. i think stricter controls. when 40% of the guns that are bought and sold in america are bought and sold without any background checks, we've got a problem. >> well, you've raised some fascinating issues there. and i think ever more powerful
coming from the position you've come from lost somebody that you loved to an atrocity like this. i'm grateful for you coming on and talking to me tonight. thank you very much. >> thank you for having us. coming up next, are more guns the answer or less? we'll get into that after the break. [ female announcer ] what if the next big thing, isn't a thing at all? it's lots of things. all waking up. ♪ becoming part of the global phenomenon we call the internet of everything. ♪
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the rifle was stolen from a person known to the suspect. >> the sheriff talking about the shooter and how he got his weapon. now, the constitutional right to bear arms. joining me is aaron gottlief. and dan gross. welcome to you both. we had a moving interview there with the parents of a young woman who lost her life in aurora. the connection to what happened there and what happened in colorado, is both used a semiautomatic weapon. my question to you is this. why would anybody in america, who is not in the military or the police force, need to ever have one of these weapons? >> first of all, piers, these aren't fully automatic weapons that you get in the military. the semiautomatic, they pull one bullet and pull the trigger, as well as any other rifle that may not look like a military-style
rifle. before you demonize a gun, you need to look at how it functions. some of the ar-15s fire .22 caliber bullets. that's a smaller what a hunting rifle would fire. >> that's not the case in either the incident in oregon or aurora, as you well know. and i come back again. you can look at it one way. i'm baffled as to what anybody would need a weapon of this sophistication for, if the purpose is simply to defend yourself. explain to me. >> well, the weapon isn't that sophisticated. to be honest about it, your network, on cnn, i remember watching during the l.a. riots, korean merchants on top of the rooftops of their buildings making sure they weren't burnt down or robbed around them. in the area of los angeles, the only businesses that survived were they had these weapons on their rooftops. and the looters, the rioters, the arsonists, went elsewhere. there's a good reason. i watched it on your network.
>> you may have seen on my network, the coverage of the aurora shooting. james holmes, the killer there, had four weapons. he also bought 6,000 rounds of ammunition on the internet. he was armed to the teeth. and he had protective gear on him, which is also what happened with jacob roberts in oregon. they planned this meticulously. and they went in with these rif rifles. and had the weapon not jammed in the mall yesterday, we could be looking at a death toll higher than what happened in aurora. i say to you, why do people in america, outside of the military and the police, need to have the ability to have an ar-15? i don't understand. >> well, i just gave you one example in the l.a. riots. >> you're saying, if there's a riot -- a riot 20 years ago. you're talking about a riot 20 years ago, as being the only reason -- the only reason why --
>> hurricane andrew -- >> unstable young people in america are able to walk in and buy ar-15 semiautomatic rifles and go into shopping malls and to movie theaters and blow away as many americans as they can, with these magazines that can carry up to 100 rounds a minute in the case of james holmes. we don't know yet about oregon. >> they don't do 100 rounds a minute. >> well, james holmes shot 70 people. james holmes shot 70 people. >> to be factual correct. >> let me give you some facts. let me give you a fact -- wait a minute. wait a minute, sir. wait a minute. you want to talk facts. let me give you a fact. >> you want to get -- >> are you still talking? >> a good solution. you have to look at both side -- >> will you stop talking? >> to debate -- >> let me speak. my show. here's a fact for you. james holmes in aurora, shot 70 people. he killed 12. i spoke to the parents of one of
the people he killed just now. this debate is not about the right to defend yourself in a home. it's about why america continues to allow deranged, young people to buy these semiautomatic ar-15s. i don't get it. you explain to me why, other than riots of 20 years ago, they should continue to easily purchase or steal these weapons? >> to be able to have a gun. piers, deranged people shouldn't be able to have a gun. if we talk about that, that's one thing. but your position basically is nobody should have a gun. you think the second amendment defends muskets as you tweeted. >> that's not my position at all. >> you tweeted that. >> i was talking about the way -- >> i have a copy of the tweet right here. >> i know what i tweeted. i tweeted it. it was my tweet. here's what i said. i said when the founders -- it's not funny. why are you laughing? >> because you're not telling the truth. >> stop laughing. it looks creepy. all right? let me turn to you, dan gross.
>> piers. >> whatever. i don't find any of this remotely funny. let me turn to you, dan gross. the reference i made in my tweet what happened before, i don't believe when the founding fathers constructed the second amendment they ever imagined that young people in america would be able to buy ar-15s, semiautomatic weapons and go into movie theaters and to shopping malls and kill as many innocent americans as they could get their hands on with the very high-powered weapons, capable of firing off multiple bullets at a very high speed. what do we do about this? we already heard these parents. very movingly, both of them own guns. one is a former member of the nra. i don't have issue with an american's right to defend themselves in their home. i have a massive issue with the ease that people who are clearly unstable can just get their hands on ar-15s and commit these atrocities. >> you know, listen. at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what i think. and it really, with all due
respect, doesn't matter what you think. it matters what the vision is of the american public. you know, we all, as a nation, we know we are better than this. that's why we started this website and this petition, wearebetterthanthis.org. we have shootings in malls and movie theaters and places of worship. we need to have an open, honest conversation of what we can do to solve the problem. the american public, you know, do they think that the answer to violence is more violence? that the answer to guns is more guns? you know, i would love to open that up in the public discourse and have the american public decide because i think what we would find is this issue isn't nearly as polarizing as the reaction of mr. gottlieb would imply. the overwhelming majority of americans know better than this. and they support solutions that can prevent tragedies like what happened to your last guests and what happened in portland, in oregon, last night.
you know, another solution i would put out there is background checks. mr. gottlieb said, let's talk about keeping guns out -- excuse me, sir. and mr. gottlieb said let's keep guns out of the hands of mentally deranged people. you know, 40 -- as those guests very well-educated guests said, in your last segment, 40% of all gun sales are not subject to background checks in our country. so, you at the top of the show, piers, talked about how many federally licensed firearm dealers there are. that only represents 60% of gun sales where there's background checks. so, 40%. keeping a gun out of the hand of a convicted felon, out of a convicted domestic abuser, out of somebody that's dangerous, mentally ill, has nothing to do with the second amendment. i would hope that mr. gottlieb would agree. my hope is that we can find a middle ground together.
we can come to sensible solutions, like background checks. and maybe have the civil discourse that's going to be necessary to solve this problem. that the overwhelming majority of americans want to have. >> mr. gottlieb, let me ask you this. would you genuinely believe that if everybody had been armed in the shopping mall, this would have prevented the shooter from killing anybody? and would you encourage people to go to shopping malls in america tomorrow, to go armed? >> piers, firstly, you start out with the statement. would i encourage everybody to be armed. i never encourage everybody to be armed. >> who do you encourage to be armed? >> you should have the right to be armed. the shopping mall had a sign on every door going into it, no firearms allowed. the theater in aurora, had a sign, no firearms allowed. these can be killing zones for criminals. that's not a way to do it. you look at the mass shootings, where do they happen. in gun-free school zones. college campuses, where you can't have a gun.
mall where's you can't have a gun. doesn't that ring an alarm bell? >> what rings alarm bells to me, until 2004, following the ban on assault weapons, there was a ban on these ar-15s. and now, there isn't. why did you go backwards? why do you feel comfortable? if that's what you do, mr. gottlieb, why do you feel comfortable in allowing young people, who may or may not be deranged, to have access to these type of assault weapons? i don't get it. >> there wasn't a ban. there was a ban on new production of them. anybody who had one was grandfathered in. and the year they discussed banning them, there was a ten-year supply sold in one year, for people that wanted them, before they were banned. and the ban disappeared at sunset ten years later. it put the guns on the street ten years earlier. what was the affect? no increase in crimes in those firearms. unlike britain and the u.k.,
where firearms are banned. this past year, 35% increase in gun crime. gun crime has gone up every year for the last four years. >> do me a favor. do you know how many people got murdered in britain? on average? the last three or four years? >> less. lower the population of the united states. >> how many? you made the statement. let me give you -- you're keen on facts. mr. gottlieb -- again, can you stop talking? let me just interrupt. >> why don't you look at both sides? >> i'm going to give you both sides. you said there's a massive surge of gun crime in britain. let me tell you the reality. in america, in the last three of four years, you average 11,000 to 12,000 murders from ghuns a population of what? 330 million. in britain, we have 60 million people. we have 35 to 40 maximum murders from guns a year. you do the same math that i'm doing? >> yeah, okay.
explain to me why it's double in britain than it was before the ban. and why it's up 35% this year if you have a ban? gun control doesn't work. criminals don't obey laws. that's why their criminals. >> it's claptrap to argue it. it's total claptrap. let me leave you one last question, which you haven't answered. do you feel comfortable, given what happened in aurora, and now in oregon, do you feel comfortable that tomorrow, another unstable 21-year-old, 22-year-old kid, who may have seen these stories in the papers, maybe watching this very show and maybe inspired to go out and do exactly the same thing, can easily go and purchase, in many states in america, an ar-15 semiautomatic rifle and magazines on the internet that can explode hundreds of bullets in rapid-fire type. do you feel comfortable that that is easy to do in your country, mr. gottlieb? >> it should be easy to law-abiding people. for people who are mentally
deranged or people who commit violent crimes, it shouldn't be. that's 1% of the population. that's where the efforts should go. not attacking the rights of the other 99% of the population. >> mr. gottlieb, mr. gross, thank you for joining me. coming up, my all-star panel on the story the country's talking about tonight. we talk about guns, obviously. and the dysfunction in washington over the fiscal cliff. and the very serious nuclear threat from north korea. our pharmacist recommended it. and that makes me feel pretty good about it. and then i heard about a study looking at multivitamins and the long term health benefits. and what do you know? they used centrum silver in the study. makes me feel even better, that's what i take. sorry, we take. [ male announcer ] centrum. the most recommended. most preferred. most studied. centrum, always your most complete. welcome to chevy's year-end event. so, the 5.3-liter v8 silverado can tow up to 9,600 pounds? 315 horsepower.
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now, to my all-star battleground america panel. the stories this country is talking about and arguing. carol roth, abbe huntsman, and charles, columnist of "the new york times." let's get to guns. another day, another atrocity. charles, what's going to happen here, if anything? i thought the most moving thing tonight was the interview of the two parents of the young woman who lost her life in aurora. they were gun owners. they're not anti-gun. that's how you have to frame this debate. america is a country with a second amendment. you have to respect the right of people to defend their families if they want it. what do we do about the proliferation of these things?
these assault rifles? i don't know why anybody in america needs one of these if they're not in the military or the police. >> i think that's the problem or the challenge. we have to change our relationship to guns. that it's not about banning people's access to guns. i'm from a small town in louisiana. a farming community. people hunt. you have to keep the snakes out of the grass, the vermin out of the garden. people use that. there's probably more humane ways of doing it. and a lot of people use guns for that purpose. also, because it's rural. you know, you can't just pick up the phone and call 911 and expect somebody to be there in five minutes. it's going to take an hour. if you have to protect your home, a lot of people have handguns for that sort of thing. it's not about saying you cannot own a gun for your protection or for sport or for whatever. however, there are guns that were specifically designed for military use, including ar-15s. and only in the '60s did they
begin to be sold to the public. i think we do have to re-examine our relationship to military-style guns, being in the civilian population. and i think that what is happening, i think the most dangerous part, is we are getting to sort of a critical mass because there's so many being sold. if you were to stop now, and there's so many out there, you now have a real problem because -- >> that's a big problem. abbe, you tweeted today, nobody needs an assault weapon. and what's it going to take to enforce background checks? >> i think the founding fathers would be shocked if they were witnessing what's going on in our country right now. this comes back to, as we've all been saying, protecting the second amendment. if that means banning assault weapons, if that means providing background checks, i think the american people are common sense enough to realize that's exactly what we need to do. your interview just a few moments with jessica's mom, she's like so many americans who say, i own a gun. i'm all about -- >> that's why i found it powerful. it's not about banning all guns.
but carol -- defend to me this, carol. >> it's not about the gun. it's about the people -- >> explain to me why anyone in america should have one of these. >> it's not about this or a bomb or any weapon. it's about the people. that's the crux of the issue. we're talking about the legislation, if we want to have a productive dialogue, let's talk about what's going on in our culture that would cause people to take any weapon. >> three children -- carol, three children under 10 in america in the last week, got hold of firearms from their family homes and either killed or critically iured siblings. >> i know it's tragic. >> you said, it's not about the guns. it's about the people. are they evil children? >> people choke on hot dogs. people fall into pools and drown. >> you're equating choking on a hot dog? >> accidents happen. if we want to have a productive dialogue. this is an emotional talk show. >> these are not accidents. >> there's not -- >> you have to separate.
it is about the brutal efficiency of high-powered semiautomatic and/or automatic weapons. assault weapons. and in that case, it is about the gun. >> several loaded magazines, and an ar-15. he may as well been a commando in afghanistan. >> the only thing we disagree on is the assault weapons part. that's why -- the question is why should anyone have an assault weapon? >> they exist. and let me ask you this. >> is that the justification? >> if you ban them, do you think that it keeps it out of the hands of criminals? has that worked for drugs? has it worked for prostitution? does it work for anything we ban? does it keep it out of the hands of the people that's irresponsible? or does it create an imbalance of power? >> do you agree that the second amendment allow you to have a tank? >> i think it does. there's people with a class 3 license that can have a tank. >> are you comfortable with everybody having a tank? >> that's not the debate.
and you're trying to sensationalize it. >> i'm not. i'm talking about the interpretation of the second amendment. the right to bear arms has to have limitation. and it should involve limiting these. >> no. limiting the people. i believe let's legislate the people. i'm all for who should not have these? there's people with violent backgrounds, that's fine. >> that is the problem, though. this is not gun smoke. this is not "gunsmoke." we're not going to walk around with a gun strapped to our waist. i believe you have the right to not bear arms and feel safe in this society. when you get to the point where you no longer can feel safe in a society by choosing not to bear arms, that becomes a problem. i think that -- >> the power of the people -- >> i'm saying, right now, we don't even have a conversation because the moment that someone brings up the idea of getting rid of -- one second.
getting rid of assault weapons, like both romney and president obama discussed in one of their debates, the nra jumps in, spends millions of dollars -- >> like all weapons. >> it is about assault weapons. >> no, it didn't. >> james holmes in aurora and this shooter in oregon, both used this weapon. it is about these. they were banned. they're not banned anymore. and the way to deal with criminals of these is not to arm everybody on the streets with the same weapon. >> if you think that that had been illegal, do you think that would have stopped them from killing people, piers? >> i think you have to try, haven't you? in a country with 11,000 to 12,000 gun murders a year. >> i think the argument that we need assault weapons to protect ourselves from those who have assault weapons, i don't think that's a good enough argument. people are responsible enough not to respond with an assault weapon. you asked what do we do? and it's not being talked about by our political leaders. it's not being talked about because it's politically sensitive. >> i think it's one of the most
shameful things. mark kelly at the end of the show tonight, he says exactly that point. we're going to take a break. and come back and discuss this along with other big issues. questions? anyone have occasional constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating? yeah. one phillips' colon health probiotic cap each day helps defend against these digestive issues with three strains of good bacteria. approved! [ female announcer ] live the regular life. phillips'.
back, now, my all-star panel. carol roth, abby huntsman, and charles blow. until they grow up in congress and washington, i'm not interested. just sort yourselves out. and we'll come back to you when you've done a deal before christmas, so we can enjoy ourselves. let's turn to north korea. that is quite worrying and quite serious. quickly, charles, is it posturing by north korea's rulers towards its people, to show a bit of power, flex a bit of muscle. is it something genuinely to be worried about? >> i think it's always something to be worried about. maybe, the leader, little kim, they call him. that we would turn a corner and he would be less aggressive. but the last round, was china's
response. they have been tougher. >> that's crucial. >> and it's still to be seen if they will move to add sanctions or tighten sanctions or whatever. but i think moving them into the crowd of the rest of the world view about where the nuclear proliferation and -- >> it's important. abby, you lived in china. china is pivotal, there in syria, with iran. everybody is looking to china for leadership. >> and let's be clear. north korea, all they really have is military power. and what keeps them afloat? china. we're talking about our relationship with china. and it's such an important one. this signifies the magnitude of importance here. china is a tough relationship. it reminds me of a game of chess. it's not a game of checkers. you have to think ten steps ahead when dealing with china. if you want to talk about human rights, you're going to have to take something else off the table. so, you have to move forward in
a way that we can work with china. it's a challenge. but it's also potentially an opportunity. >> it's crucial. carol, china is pivotal economically, increasingly militarily, politically, certainly. it is the place that everyone has to look to for guidance and leadership on all these issues. >> right. and i think the big question here is, can we believe that china really is all up in arms, please excuse the pun, over the situation? or are they secretly behind the scenes? if they are, we're in big trouble. if we have to go into some sort of war over there, we're not going to be able to finance it because we get our money, right now, from china. we can't get it from japan. we can't get it from europe. we have $16 trillion in debt. back to the fiscal cliff, we went by. >> that's out of the way. >> you jumped the shark. you mentioned the dreaded cliff word. i'm cutting you all off. carol, abby, charles, thank you. you've been one of the most lively panels and the most
aesthetically pleasing since yesterday. when it comes to guns, my next guest knows it all-too well. gabby giffords husband, astronaut mark kelly. coming up next. [ sniffs ] i have a cold. [ sniffs ] i took dayquil but my nose is still runny. [ male announcer ] truth is, dayquil doesn't treat that. really? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms, plus it relieves your runny nose. [ breathes deeply ] awesome. [ male announcer ] yes, it is. that's the cold truth! capella university understands back from rough economic times. employees are being forced to do more with less.
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a divisive issue in this country. and the man who can see both sides of it, better than most, is mark kelly. he's gabby giffords husband. and an astronaut. and he talked to me earlier. welcome back to you, mark. >> good evening, piers. it's great to be here. >> i saw a story in the last few days. it said that smith & wesson had increased gun sales by 44% since barack obama was re-elected. they never had numbers higher of people applying for clearance and licenses. i saw that terrifying. what is your reaction to the extraordinary proliferation in gun sales? >> it's surprising. president obama hasn't really addressed the gun issue at all he was elected the first time. you know, during his first four years in office. while the issue has come up, there hasn't been much done to address the problem.
although, walmart also saw record sales in ammunition, following his first inauguration. i'm quite surprised by that. i didn't hear that statistic from smi from smith & wesson. but it's interesting to see. >> when i have this debate, a lot of americans say, listen. it's the second amendment. it's our constitution. we have a right to bear arms. and primarily, we want to have guns to protect ourselves and our family. and you would have heard the argument many times. clearly, guns did not protect your family. what is your answer to that? i mean, do you understand it? do you empathize with it? what is the answer? >> well, i personally believe that people have a right to protect themselves in their home. that they should be allowed to have a gun to protect them and their family. but i also think that we have an issue with the access that people have to guns. that it's so easy to buy a gun.
especially in certain states. in certain circumstances, people that are mentally ill can acquire a gun or even in some cases, a former felon can. so, these are problems that i think need to be addressed. you know, we elect some smart people that should be able to work out these issues. they've just -- they've just neglected to do it on, you know, in this particular case. and you know, there's reasons that politicians tend to ignore this issue. >> let's turn to things up in space. 40 years ago, apollo 17 lifted into the night and sent the last humans to the moon. do you think we'll ever see human beings on the moon again in your lifetime? in my lifetime? >> well, you initially said ever. and ever's a long time. but in our lifetimes? i think there's a good probability we will get somebody back on the moon. maybe it's not the united states of america. maybe it will be a chinese astronaut on the surface of the moon next. i hope that's not the case. i mean, i think we have strong
reasons for going there. mars, on the other hand, is a much bigger problem. to send somebody to mars and safely get them back to earth, is -- would be one of the greatest challenges we've ever taken on as a species. >> would you like to do that? >> well, i would. it's a long trip. if you're going to stay there for more than two weeks, you're going to stay there for 500 days. and 500 days is a long time. my brother is getting ready to go into space. it's a couple years from now. but he's going to go into space for a year. a year is long time. but imagine doing a 500-day trip. that brings us back to when ships left europe and didn't plan to come back for years. we're looking at that kind of mission. >> i'm trying to imagine the scene where you tell gabby, i'm off to mars for 500 days. >> i don't think she'll be digging that. >> tell me about your book. it's beautifully designed and illustrated. a lot of fun. a nice children's book. why did you decide to do this?
>> on my first space flight, we carried 18 mice onboard for an experiment. and 17 of them were not having a good time. they were terrified. stuck to the inside of the cage. but one of them, and this is the true part of the story, really seemed to enjoy the experience. >> it's a lot of fun. and i'm going to show it to my little daughter. it's great to talk to you again. good luck with all that you do. send my best to gabby. how is she doing? >> she's doing well, piers. you know, she's got a great attitude about her recovery. about where she's going. you know, she's getting involved in -- not exactly back to work. but we've been involved in a new organization called the national institute for civil discourse. >> that's great. nice to talk to you. >> thanks for having me on, piers. appreciate it. >> that's all for us tonight. "ac 360" starts in a few moments. americans are always ready to work hard for a better future.
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